20 Jan

Lacks and Locks

The strength of Samson is legendary. He was given a highly unusual gift. So long as his locks grew long, his strength would be supernatural. His key to success in life and work were simple, don’t cut your hair.

Early on the scriptures indicate that the Spirit of the Lord was on the boy. This should come as no surprise given his parents had dedicated him to the Lord from the start. They had been without child and God granted them not only a blessing but a blessing that was truly gifted.

Samson soon discovered his superman like traits. He once ripped a lion apart with his bare hands. He took on 30 men and sent them to an early grave. He captured 300 foxes, tied a torch to pairs of tails and released them to burn down the fields, vineyards and olive groves of the pesky Philistines. Let’s just say Samson had a reputation and there was no need for him to carry a big stick. In fact, when the Philistines came for restitution, he killed another 1,000 with the jawbone of a donkey. Despite his toughness, like a lot of men, women were his weakness. More than once he would have qualified for the TV show, Men Behaving Badly. But it was sweet Delilah that ultimately soured his future.

Samson began to take his gifting and calling for granted. He started to compromise his standards. Isolated and alone, he played with sin and was lulled to sleep by a beautiful betrayer. It is a lesson for all of us, sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. 

Samson became an over confident, conceited and compromising leader. His riddles and rhymes ultimately were his ruin. The secret to his success was out and before he knew it, his head was shaved, his eyes were gouged out and a life meant for victory was squander and left only to grind grain in the prison of its captors. 

Samson failed to realize that his problem was not that his hair had left his head but rather the Lord had left his side. Samson had forgotten the giver of the gift was the true source of his strength. Without the Lord, his hair meant nothing. 

Samson went from being the man everyone feared to the man everyone made fun of. He was the laughing stock of the town. But in his sadness, Samson remembered the Lord. His heart turned back to his creator. He repented and the Lord renewed his mind, and although it be ever so slowly, the Lord renewed his strength.

While his captors grew lacks, Samson grew locks. As the stubble grew, so did his strength. It was subtle and slow but the man that was, was making a comeback. We see the heart of the man when he prays to the Lord, “O God, please strengthen me one more time.” No one wants their life to be wasted. Like so many of us, Samson wondered if he had simply gone beyond the point of recovery. He wanted his life to matter, even if it were just one last time.

They never saw it coming. The blind and battered “has been” was about to get the last laugh. Before his enemies knew it, Samson brought down the house. They never knew what hit them. It cost him his life but Samson’s prayer was answered as he pushed back the pillars of support. The roof came down and the walls came tumbling in. Thousands were wiped out, including all the enemy’s leaders, in one final push!  Samson went out in a blaze of glory! Samson ended strong!

Samson was far from perfect. He grew proud and flippant. We can almost see him playing with his curly locks, smiling with an ornery grin. “If only they knew,” he must have been thinking. Unfortunately, eventually they did discover the secret to his success and Samson paid the ultimately price for his lapse in judgement.

What can we learn from Samson’s life?

  1. Don’t compromise your standards.
  2. Don’t play with sin.
  3. Isolation leads to idleness which leads to idolatry.
  4. Don’t take your gifts and calling for granted.
  5. Beware of being lulled to sleep and inactive.
  6. Realize the absence of the Lord’s presence in your life.
  7. Remember God’s call on your life
  8. Repent and return to the Lord. 
  9. God will renew your mind. 
  10. You will regain your strength. You will end strong despite what you may have done because God isn’t finished with you yet!